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Women in Sports and Exercise Medicine: where are we now?
  1. Valerie Hayes1,
  2. James O Donovan1,2
  1. 1 Sport Ireland Institute, Abbotstown, Ireland
  2. 2 Sports Surgery Clinic, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Valerie Hayes, Sport Ireland Institute, Abbotstown, D15 Y52H, Ireland; valeriemhayes{at}

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Sports and Exercise Medicine (SEM) has grown as a specialty in terms of recognition and role clarity over the last few decades, but has its profile for diversity and inclusion kept pace?

In 1993, Susanna Levin noted in her article ‘Women in Sports Medicine’1, that only 761 (20%) of the 3805 members of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) were women. At that time, there had been only one woman president of the ACSM. Only two women physicians were working with National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division 1 football teams at that time.1 Thirty years later, have we made any progress?

Where are we now?

In Australia, fewer women than men apply to train in SEM and these numbers have plateaued. In 2019, 23% of fellows and 30% of registrars were women.2 According to the 2020 Physician Specialty Data Report, only 29.4% of sports medicine physicians in the USA3 (residents and fellows) are women and only 12.9% of sports medicine orthopaedic surgeons are women. In Ireland, according to data received by the authors from the Irish Medical Council, currently under 14% of SEM specialists are women. Figures received from the General Medical Council …

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. The title has been corrected.

  • Contributors VH and JOD developed the idea for the editorial. VH completed the literature review. Both authors, VH and JOD, contributed to the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.